Category Archives:
Middle East

To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this

Jonathan Ofir on
Palestinian medic tries to comfort a wounded boy at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip,

An open letter to my fellow Israelis: As the world media became instantly transparent, the reality of our crimes became impossible to hide, and we put an extra focus on propaganda to twist it all into “self defense”. Who on earth would want to “survive” if this is how “survival” looks?

Jewish West Bank settlers are as smug as white South Africans in 1980

James North on
New construction in the Ofra settlement (Photo: Philip Weiss)

James North writes that as he read through Phil Weiss’s superb reports on Jewish settlers in West Bank Palestine, he experienced an eerie sense of familiarity. From 1978 to 1983 North lived in southern Africa, writing articles and then a book about the struggle against apartheid. The people Weiss described so vividly reminded him of many of the white South Africans he met back then. He writes, “The resemblance is more than an attitude of colonial superiority. Beyond that, I recognized in Weiss’s settlers a similar feeling of self-confidence, the conviction that although the outside world could criticize all it wanted, no one was going to taken any serious actions to disturb their lives.”

‘People will die’: A report from the Grande-Synthe refugee camp

Katherine Schwartz on
Residents of Grande-Synthe's refugee camp cue up for blankets, clothes, food, and water provided by independent volunteers. This line is a rare sight and a sign of the concerted effort of volunteers and English speaking Kurds to organize the distribution.  (Photo: Katherine Schwartz)

“We live like dogs,” says a Kurdish resident of Grande-Synthe, a burgeoning refugee camp located in an industrial suburb of Dunkerque, France. As the refugee crisis continues to swell across Europe, Grande-Synthe stands as an example of the most perilous living conditions in modern Western society.

News to write home about

Hatim Kanaaneh on
A homeless man drinks water while sitting on the beach at Ala Moana Beach Park located near Waikiki in Honolulu, Aug. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

While in Hawaii, Hatim Kanaaneh uses the local homelessness crisis to explain Middle East politics.

As sanctions end over nuclear program, US socks Iran with new sanctions over missile testing

Annie Robbins on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Over the weekend, in a victory for diplomacy, the U.S. lifted sanctions on Iran in place since 2006 as the two countries also completed a prisoner exchange. But no sooner than the plane carrying released prisoners had left the tarmac in Iran, the U.S. Department of Treasury slapped new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile testing last fall, breaking the spirit of the agreement with Iran.

British Parliamentarians pay homage to Dick Cheney during debate over ISIS

Nu'man Abd al-Wahid on
Former Vice President Dick Cheney looks at his bust on December 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Keith Lane)

On December 3rd 2015 a statue was unveiled in honor of Richard “Dick” Cheney at the United States Capitol. Coincidentally, the previous day witnessed the British parliament, specifically the House of Commons, inadvertently honor Cheney in the debate on whether to extend the military intervention aimed at ISIS in Iraq into ISIS’s supposed heartland in Syria.

Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia (Updated)

Zeina Azzam on
Ashraf Fayadh

The Palestinian artist, curator, and poet Ashraf Fayadh, 35, has been sentenced to death by beheading. Saudi Arabian authorities have declared his crime as “apostasy,” or abandoning one’s religion—in this case, renouncing Islam. Several other charges were also leveled against Fayadh, including allegedly photographing women and storing their pictures on his phone, a violation of the country’s Anti-Cyber Crime Law. He pleaded his innocence to all the charges. Amnesty International UK states that, “Throughout this whole process, Ashraf was denied access to a lawyer—a clear violation of international human rights law, as well as Saudi Arabia’s national laws.”

A Response to Ben Norton on silence over war in Yemen

Evan W. Sandlin on
A Yemeni child in the rubble of homes destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes

Photo: AP / Hani Mohammed

Evan W. Sandlin responds to Ben Norton’s post “Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war in Yemen” and says, “The reasons for relegating the plight of Yemenis to virtual obliviousness is more nuanced and more troubling than Norton makes it out to be.”

Forty Brazilian diplomats issue statement against Dani Dayan appointment

Moara Crivelente on
Dani Dayan (Photo: Tomer Appelbaum)

On Thursday January 8, a group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a statement against Israel’s appointment of Mr. Dani Dayan for the Israeli Embassy in Brazil. The statement criticizes the way Dayan was announced and his role in the settlement movement, which the diplomats view as an affront to Brazil’s positions against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

How Zionism helped create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Nu'man Abd al-Wahid on
Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud with Sir Percy Cox

The covert alliance between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel should be no surprise to any student of British imperialism. The British Empire’s drive to impose Zionism in Palestine is embedded in the geographical DNA of contemporary Saudi Arabia.

The Rabin distraction

Roland Nikles on
Rabin and Arafat on the White House lawn, with Bill Clinton, in 1993

Dan Ephron’s book Killing a King is an almost morbid exploration of the preparation for and political consequences of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin twenty years ago, but in celebrating the two-state solution it ignores the real problems in the Israel/Palestine one-state reality

A look back at the year ahead

Marc H. Ellis on
Johannes Baptist Metz

Thirty years ago Marc Ellis called for a solidarity with the Palestinian people. Now that call is more relevant than ever. Because the abyss is clearly in view.

A Christmas message in dark times

Richard Falk on
St. Augustine

The Christmas spirit entails a radical reworking of identity and worldview to interrogate our own tribal and ‘patriotic’ roots and touch the other. Donald Trump isn’t helping.

Banksy’s bold statement on Syrian refugees

Annie Robbins on
"the son of a migrant from Syria" Photo: Banksy

World-famous British artist Banksy has made a bold statement about refugees in his latest artwork depicting Steve Jobs, the visionary CEO and cofounder of Apple, on a wall in “The Jungle” refugee camp outside the port city of Calais in northern France. The piece is simply titled “the son of a migrant from Syria.”

What would Prophet Mohammad do to Trump?

Mahmoud El-Yousseph on
Donald Trump. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Mahmoud El-Yousseph says that Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US is the worst public insult directed against Muslims he has heard in 40 years living in America. As he considered how to respond he looked to his faith and says it provides guidance for him and all Americans.